Purpose: Difficult clinical signs such as confusing cervical mucus or erratic basal body temperature can make the use of fertility awareness methods (FAMs) difficult in some cases. The goal of this study was to assess the feasibility of using a cheap urinary luteinizing hormone (LH)-surge identification kit as an adjunct to identify the infertile phase after ovulation when facing these scenarios.
Methods: The study used a block-allocation, crossover, 2-arm methodology (LH kit/FAM vs FAM only). Comparison of the 2 arms was done with regard to the accuracy of identification (yes/no) of the luteal phase in each cycle as confirmed by serum progesterone concentrations.
Results: We recruited 23 Canadian women currently using FAM, aged 18 to 48 years, who have had menstrual cycles 25 to 35 days long for the past 3 months and perceive themselves to have difficulty with identifying the infertile phase after ovulation. LH kits identified 100% of the luteal phases, whereas FAM indentified 87% (statistically significant). In those identified cycles, LH kits provided a mean of 10.3 days of infertility, and FAM only provided 10 days of infertility (not statistically significant).
Conclusions: Among this population, LH kits may offer an adjunct for women who may wish to have an additional double-check. However, there are still clinical circumstances when even an LH kit does not provide confirmation. More research in this area is encouraged.
Keywords: Fertility; Gynecology; Luteinizing Hormone; Natural Family Planning; Progesterone.